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Who Was the Most Memorable Guest on the 1950s Game Show “I’Ve Got a Secret”?

Young children can have active imaginations, but there's surely no way Samuel J. Seymour could have dreamed up what he witnessed as a little boy. Seymour was just five years old when he attended the play Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre on the night of April 14, 1865. Instead, he witnessed history: The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth. Ninety-one years later, Seymour recounted the harrowing experience during an appearance on the popular TV game show I've Got a Secret. In February 1956, when the show aired, Seymour was the last living witness to Lincoln's assassination. He died only two months later, at the age of 96.

Two years earlier, Seymour had given an interview about his memories of Lincoln's assassination in which he recalled how "all of a sudden, a shot rang out -- a shot that always will be remembered -- and someone in the President’s box screamed." Seymour said that at the time, he didn't understand what had happened and was initially concerned for Booth, who broke his leg when he jumped onto the stage from the presidential box.

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln:

  • The shooting of Lincoln was part of a larger, failed plot to also kill Ulysses S. Grant, Vice President Andrew Johnson, and Secretary of State William Seward.
  • Lincoln signed the bill that created the U.S. Secret Service on the same night as his assassination.
  • Mary Surratt was charged as a conspirator in Lincoln's death and became the first woman executed by the U.S. government.
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